Eight cross-border energy infrastructure projects secure €600 million-bundle of financial support from EU  

European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) has inked almost €600 million in grant agreements for eight cross-border energy infrastructure projects, entailing ten countries and covering electricity, gas, CO2, and smart grids. Five of these eight projects are focused on CO2 networks.

Source: CINEA

In a bid to ensure the implementation of the European Green Deal and REPowerEU, EU Member States agreed to invest €593.87 million in developing cross-border energy infrastructure projects that contribute to the development of the TEN-E networks. 

As a result, eight projects were selected to receive a grant under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for trans-European energy networks. These encompass five carbon dioxide (CO2) network projects, one gas storage project, and two projects in the electricity sector. 

Curbing EU’s carbon footprint with CCUS

As the momentum behind carbon capture, storage, and utilization (CCUS) to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors builds, CEF funding of almost €480 million is being awarded to four CO2 transport and storage projects, which constitute the first building blocks of a future Europe-wide carbon value chain that are scheduled for completion before the end of the decade, contributing to the EU’s 2030 decarbonization objectives.

In line with this, €157 million has been awarded to CO2 infrastructure in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, consisting of an import terminal for the reception of CO2 from carbon capture sites in various Member States through the CO2next project and a 200-kilometer undersea trunkline for the Aramis project, connecting the port to the future CO2 storage site in a depleted gas field offshore.

Thanks to this, the Aramis cross-border CO2 transport and storage project has received €124 million to establish a CCUS infrastructure, which will enable CO2 emitters in Northwest Europe’s hard-to-abate industrial sectors to store emissions on the Dutch continental shelf.

Aramis will connect the CO2 collection hub from the CO2 next project to the onshore CO2 collection pipeline and compression hub developed by the Porthos project, and to offshore storage sites on the Dutch continental shelf.

On the other hand, CO2next aims to develop, build, and operate an open-access hub terminal in Maasvlakte (Port of Rotterdam) for reception, temporarily storing, and transiting liquid CO2. 

Supported with €33 million, it contributes to Aramis by linking remote emitters to the pipeline and storage infrastructure. This project will help hard-to-abate industries decarbonize their processes while offsetting CO2 emissions, directly contributing to the EU’s 2030 decarbonization targets.

Furthermore, a maximum of €189 million is intended for a CO2 export hub in the port of Dunkirk in France, called D’Artagnan, to support the construction of a collecting pipeline and an export terminal to provide industrial sites in the port and its hinterland with a route to export their captured CO2 to storage sites abroad. 

Therefore, D’Artagnan Phase I will establish an open-access infrastructure in France for transporting, liquefying, and exporting CO2 from hard-to-abate industries in Dunkirk and its hinterland. The project will support the development of European infrastructure for transporting CO2 to permanent geological storage sites in the North Sea.

Moreover, the Northern Lights initiative, a cross-border project linking CO2 capture initiatives in several EU Member States with a future storage site at sea on the Norwegian continental shelf, is planning the expansion of the CO2 import terminal in Øygarden in Norway and the construction of a 100 km offshore pipeline to the storage site. 

In light of this, the Northern Lights Phase 2 expansion project has been awarded €131 million to increase the CO2 storage capacity of the Northern Lights initiative from 1.5 Mtpa to over 5 Mtpa. It involves transporting captured CO2 by ship to a storage site on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The project includes expanding the CO2 storage infrastructure, covering onshore facilities (intermediate storage tanks, pumps, jetty) and offshore facilities (pipeline, umbilical, underwater structures).

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The EU CCS Interconnector, a CO2 infrastructure project Gdansk in Poland also received CEF funding for studies necessary for implementation Studies 4CCS Interconnector is focused on preparing studies for an open-access multi-modal liquid CO2 import-export terminal in Gdańsk, Poland, along with related CO2 transport infrastructure from industrial emitters to the pan-European CCS network.

The terminal will strengthen the CO2 transport and storage network in Eastern Europe. Supported with €2.54 million, the project will facilitate the implementation of PCI 12.9 “POLAND-EU CCS Interconnector.”

Ensuring energy security with natural gas storage

The existing Depomures natural gas storage facility in Romania will receive funding worth €12.77 million to boost its working capacity and daily injection and withdrawal rates. In line with the REPowerEU Plan, the upgrade of the Depomures storage contributes to market integration and natural gas security of supply for Romania and its neighboring countries by mitigating the lack of storage capacity in a region affected by the gas crisis. 

With this at the forefront, DROCSP1 involves refurbishing and expanding the existing underground gas storage (UGS)to increase the reverse flow pressure from Depomures UGS to the National Transmission System by 250% and eliminate interconnection bottlenecks. This will improve Romania’s interconnections with Hungary and Bulgaria, aiding the integration of the national energy market into the European one.

Optimizing grid capacity

The electricity sector is an important aspect of the EU’s energy transition, thus, funding for works worth €100 million has been awarded to the Gabreta smart grids project, located between Czechia and Germany, which will allow for the integration of renewable electricity by reducing bottlenecks in connection requests, improving grid controllability, and enabling innovative market solutions.

This project, which will reinforce and digitalize the distribution grids of Czechia and Germany, aims to increase grid hosting capacity, enable remote monitoring and control of medium voltage grids, and improve grid observability and network planning.

This includes strengthening and modernizing electrical infrastructure, installing new communication equipment and smart components, and developing ICT-based control systems and applications. Upon completion, the project will enhance the grid in the border region, improve the security and quality of electricity supply, and facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources and new energy market players.

Bolstering electricity interconnections

The project to reinforce the Lonny-Achêne-Gramme electricity interconnector between France and Belgium, the LAG Study, aims to strengthen the existing 380 kV high-voltage cross-border transmission line between France and Belgium by approximately 1 GW.

The project, funded with €1.22 million for the Belgian section, focuses on the 380-10 line between Gramme and Achêne (approximately 37 km), the 380-19 line between Achêne and the Belgian-French border (approximately 35 km), and the Achêne substation. Activities include technical studies, obtaining permits, and engaging stakeholders.